Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More About Jobs in June

The previous post showed that the Pittsburgh Region's job growth over the past year, as measured from June 2006 to June 2007, was well below the national average and most other comparable regions.

Was that an anomaly? A bad month in an overall positive trend?

Unfortunately, quite the opposite.

There was some small reason for optimism last fall, as job growth in the Pittsburgh Region finally started to accelerate after several years of declines and stagnation. As you can see in the chart, job growth appeared to be increasing fairly consistently through the beginning of the year, and reached 2/3 of the national job growth rate in January.

But then, job growth slowed again in February and has continued to slow in the months since. Although U.S. job growth also slowed in the first half of the year, it remained around 1.5%, whereas job growth in the Pittsburgh Region has been only one-third of that.

Although there are a lot of good things happening in the Pittsburgh Region, we can't escape the fact that overall, the economy is doing poorly. Should we continue to wait and hope that things will turn around on their own? We've been waiting for several years now, and if anything, the data suggest that we will stay in the doldrums unless aggressive action is taken to fundamentally change the economic climate in the region.

What do we need to do?

1. Stop being the place with the Worst Business Taxes in America. It is shameful that the state passed another budget without cutting the corporate net income tax, despite having hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus revenues that could have been used for that purpose.

2. Start being a place that aggressively supports entrepreneurial firms. Although we're seeing great technologies and companies emerging from our universities, too many of them continue to have serious problems finding the capital, particularly angel investment, needed to grow and be successful.


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